Former Tennessee Lady Vols head coach Holly Warlick told ESPN that recent comments from UConn head coach Geno Auriemma, which criticized the program last season under her reign, were “not fair.”
Following the denial of Evina Westbrook’s transfer waiver, Auriemma has repeatedly indicated that he believes there are issues with Tennessee’s “environment” that Westbrook was trying to get away from, which is why the NCAA transfer waiver should have been approved.
Auriemma won’t go into specifics, as reported by Hartford Courant’s Alexa Philippou, and UConn hasn’t made Westbrook available to media.
Westbrook, who made public comments following the Lady Vols historic first-round exit of the 2019 NCAA tournament, transferred to UConn after two years with Tennessee. Warlick, following those comments and early tournament exit, was “relieved of her duties as head coach” in March after a tumultuous and often-debated seven years. Knox News wrote at the time of her firing that her contract stated she’d receive “one-third of the salary remaining on her contract if she was fired without cause, equaling a buyout of about $710,000.”
Auriemma has said after a 2-0 start, following a 11-point win over Cal and a 13-point win over Vanderbilt, that “things aren’t going to be easy this season.” A player like Westbrook, leading the Lady Vols in scoring last season, would have helped following the graduations of Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier.
The topic of NCAA transfers, and how the NCAA determines them, has been a topic of discussion over the last few years. This season along with Westbrook’s, Destiny Littleton’s waiver was denied at South Carolina but Braxtin Miller’s at Ohio State was approved. There has been no announcement whether Mikayla Coombs, who transferred from UConn to Georgia, will be eligible for this season.
UConn and Tennessee play on Jan. 23, 2020 in Hartford, CT.
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